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K-5 Highway manners (or lack of)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by wildbilzrydn, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. wildbilzrydn

    wildbilzrydn 1/2 ton status

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    Hello,
    I'm looking for suggestions, I have a 1972 K-5, and it drives like hell. It has 6" BDS (?) lift and MT 35 x 12.50's running 35psi. I have just replaced the centerlink, steering stabilizer and checked over the rest of the front end, and all appears fine now but the damn thing follows every little groove in the road. I'd like to hear from anyone who runs similar tires and get their input, as well as anyone who has installed a front sway bar on one of these. Any other input will be appreciated as well. The frame is not cracked at the steering box, but I would like to hear from someone who knows how to set the worm gear lash one this too.

    Thanks!
     
  2. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I run 15" wide bias ply swampers on my K5 and it goes down the freeway straight as an arrow, no appreciable wander either.

    Something is loose somewhere in your steering. You just haven't found it yet...

    You need a helper to turn the wheel back and forth while you lay underneath and examine every component as it's moving. Stuff that looks fine just sitting there will act a lot different with turning stress's on them. I have found bad DLE's and TRE's as well a loose steering box bolts by doing this.

    Often frame cracks don't make themselves known or visible until the box is unbolted and the frame vbehind it cleaned.

    The absolute very last thing you should adjust is the steering box lash...if at all.

    Rene
     
  3. Roz

    Roz 1/2 ton status

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    sir, step away from the box! last resort, they super suck to mess with and dont go bad from what i know of very often. keep looking.
     
  4. RingMaster4x4

    RingMaster4x4 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    is that the max PSI for your tires?? my truck would wornder all over If the tire PSI is too low. :confused:
     
  5. Thunder

    Thunder 3/4 ton status

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    IMO you are running too much pressure in the tires. Try 28-30 psi. I'm running 33 on 8 inch rims. if i run the pressure up to 35 the tire is only running on its center and my Blazer likes to wander around. At 30 PSI it is rock sloid down the road.
     
  6. DavidB

    DavidB 1/2 ton status

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    Didya check the alignment?
    Toe-in?
    Caster?

    There's good DIY alignment stuff out there.

    I got linx or a file or something somewhere if you want.
     
  7. Roz

    Roz 1/2 ton status

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    thats true, i aired down on the trail this weekend and forgot my pump :doah: but i ran it back home at 25-28psi and it handled really good. didnt drift or follow ruts quite as bad(not that it was bad to begin with). i going to try 30 for daily driving now.
     
  8. highrlr

    highrlr 1/2 ton status

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    My '89 also wanders with mad style! I havent messed with it though since I have a D60, 14bff combo going in soon so i will deal with any issues after that time. I sure hope I can get it to drive good though, I hafta drive this thing almost 700 miles to college in Jan!
     
  9. Roz

    Roz 1/2 ton status

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    bah! good way to keep u from catching the zzzzzzzzzzz at the wheel :D
     
  10. highrlr

    highrlr 1/2 ton status

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    Yeah thats for sure, there is no resting while drinving my truck! But it is really bad though right now, I dont even like going a hare over 60!
     
  11. pvfjr

    pvfjr 1/2 ton status

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    Mine wandered quite a bit last week when the wheel bearings went out. :doah:
     
  12. Roz

    Roz 1/2 ton status

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    when or before? :eek1:
     
  13. blazinzuk

    blazinzuk Buzzbox voodoo Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    yah check wheel bearings my bros blazer had one of the retainer things broken on his which allowed the wheel bearing to loosen up replaced that peice and it is fine now even with bias plys
     
  14. pvfjr

    pvfjr 1/2 ton status

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    Before: Was in denial and was hoping it was my imagination.

    When: No mistaking it, all over the road, scared out of my mind.
     
  15. muddyblzr

    muddyblzr 1/2 ton status

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    exact same thing happen to me. first i thought it was the brakes on that side grabbing cuz i had real bad brake steer then i get out and the hub could of cooked an egg :mad: :doah: . easy way to figure out if ur bearings r bad is jack up the front and try to shake teh tire
     
  16. wildbilzrydn

    wildbilzrydn 1/2 ton status

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    Hey everyone, Thanks for all the help!
     
  17. pvfjr

    pvfjr 1/2 ton status

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    Now that you mention it, I think the brake steer may have been my first warning. Here I could have avoided being stranded. :doah:
     
  18. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Your setup isn't particularly unique or extreme, so it should be easy to get decent street manners from it.

    As was already mentioned, worn front end components are probably a culprit....ball joints, tie rod ends, drag link ends, etc.

    What's the steering system look like? Do you have a raised steeing arm, an s-shaped draglink?, a dropped pitman arm?......some combination of those? Sometimes it takes a little experimentation with different combos to get a setup that works well for you.

    Also....alignment. Too much toe-in or toe-out could be setting up a real fighting match between the front tires.

    Caster....too little caster can cause vague steering also...



    As you can see, no real rocket science here....just verifying the basics should get you a K5 that drives straight on the highway without scaring the bejeezus out of you!!! :D
     
  19. wildbilzrydn

    wildbilzrydn 1/2 ton status

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    It has a raised steering arm, not a dropped pitman arm, and the shims that correct the pinion angle.
    I cant get any play at all on the top & bottom of the wheel, so I think the ball joints are ok, as well as the wheel bearings
    I can't see the the relationship change between the tie rods and their mounting points, so I measured the play using a dial indicator and got about .070" total across the drag link ends, (1/4 turn of the sterring shaft!) so I replaced those this last sunday, and it did get better. I only measure about .005" on the tie rod ends, but theyre pretty cheap so I'll replace them and get it aligned.
    I also intend to play with the tire pressure a little.
    Can I use '73 and later tie rod ends here? (more expensive, but I wont have to order them)
    I would like to get a sway bar on this thing, I'd like to get rid of a little body roll, this is my first pre '73 syle truck, and I think my '75 shortbox handled a little better, so if you could point me in a direction that would help me get one on I would appreciate it very much.

    Thanks very much for your help!

    Bill
     
  20. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    A 73+ sway bar will work fine as long as you get the upper plates that come with it and the pivot brackets for the middle....

    You will have to do a small amount of fabrication to build supports for those center pivots....when I had a sway bar on my '72 all I did was weld some bracketry to the front engine crossmember and it worked awesome. I installed a set of ORD quick disconnects for the swaybar, so it would still still flex when wheeling....

    On the street, the manners were quite good with the swaybar. I'd say with the soft ORD front springs, sway bar, 1/2 Ton axles and 35" radials....that was about the best my K5 ever felt on the highway. :thinking:
     

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